Private investigators were able to delete information from police databases, according to the uncensored version of a police report into illegal trade in personal information.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) report had been published officially in 2012—with important passages blacked out.
The report said that the investigations it used “provided examples of corrupt employees including serving and former police officers” passing information to investigators.
The uncensored version says there was evidence of attempts to get information from witness protection programmes and of “deleting intelligence records from law enforcement databases”.
It also reveals that detective agencies got personal information from British Gas, British Telecom and Revenue & Customs.
Two lists of names of over three hundred clients of the private investigators are being withheld by the cops. As well as the media, they include major law firms and large corporations.
One list of 102 clients is in a locked room in parliament. The Metropolitan Police says that to release it would harm the commercial interests of those on it.
The Met is refusing so far to give the other list to MPs at all. Hundreds of police officers were involved in corrupt relationships with private investigators.
The Soca report was based on information from five investigations. The one that was censored in the document was Operation Abelard II.
That was the latest in a long line of investigations into the 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan, a co-founder of Southern Investigations.
Southern Investigations became a key hub for gathering information for the media and business by illegal means. Jonathan Rees, who ran Southern investigations, was cleared of Daniel’s murder in 2011.
Earlier this year home secretary Theresa May announced a panel investigation into the case. This would also look at the corrupt relations of between the police, private investigators and the media.
One other source for the report is the case of Philip Campbell-Smith and three other men who had “blagged” information from banks, Interpol, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and sold it on.
Campbell-Smith is a former military intelligence officer who is also alleged to have hacked the computer of another army intelligence officer in 2006 for the News of the World. He worked for Jonathan Rees.
Some in the media are trying to argue the client lists mean the hacking scandal wasn’t about the press in order to divert attention from themselves. Socialist Worker has long argued it wasn’t just about the media.
There is a network of conmen, bent coppers, impersonators and computer experts contracted by private detectives. They are the people who do the dirty work for the establishment—all of the establishment. That includes the media, business, police and politicians.
The establishment cover-up of that is where the scandal lies.